Tokyo can sometimes be overwhelming to tourists. There are SO many interesting things to do and sights to see. You could spend months, even years, exploring the city and still not conquer it all! That being said, I narrowed it all down to this list of top 10 unique things to do in Tokyo!
Whether you’re an animal person, shopper, foodie, or gamer, the city has something to offer every traveler. My advice is to dabble in it all and make the city your playground! Tokyo is comparable to an adult Disneyland if you’re willing to explore all the rarities that make it so special.
My boyfriend and I were 100% up for the challenge during our visit and documented this entire list of unique things to do in Tokyo (PRESS PLAY)!
For more specific tips and recommendations not mentioned in my YouTube, keep scrolling for my written list of “Top 10 Unique Things To Do in Tokyo!”
1. Shop & Snack at Ameyoko
One activity that not a lot of tourists know about is the local market on Ameyoko (A.K.A Ameya Yokocho Market). This street of 500 stores is always busy with locals due to its cheap deals!
While there you can shop for anything from clothing and accessories to beauty products and other unique Japan souvenirs. There’s also a variety of food and drink stands for when you get hungry.
2. Drink With Locals in Golden Gai
The Golden Gai district is special because of its narrow alleyways of tiny bars. Most bars are so snug that they can’t fit more than 10 people! In addition to their unique size, most of the storefronts and streets in the area have been preserved since the 1950s, making the experience feel like a time-warp.
Make sure to read the signs before entering since many bars are “locals only.” Otherwise, the bars that welcome tourists are a great place to meet local Tokyo residents! In fact, the first time we visited we drank with a group of Japanese businessmen until the bar closed at 5AM 🤣
3. Sushi Breakfast at Tsujiki Fish Market
No trip to Tokyo is complete without visiting the famous Tsujiki Fish Market! If you’re going to make the trek there, you also might as well get an incredibly cheap omakase!
We went all out and lined up at 3 AM for the famous Sushi Dai restaurant that fits only 12 diners at a time. We were one of the first people in when it opened at 5AM and it was DEFINITELY worth the wait! The omakase was only $35 and the freshest fish I’d ever eaten (until I went Miyazono 😍, but the price there is $250 per omakase). Unfortunately, if you line up any later than 3AM, you could wait anywhere from 3-5 hours!
The only bummer about eating so early is that the fish market stalls and vendors don’t open up to tourists until 10-1. So if you plan to eat a sushi breakfast, know you’ll have to wait until 10 to explore the actual market!
4. Sing at a Karaoke Bar
Karaoke bars are a staple in the Tokyo nightlife scene, and you’ll see them located all over the city! Most places will assign you to your own private room with your own waitress to bring you food and drinks!
If you want to go extra crazy like me and my boyfriend, you can even choose to dress up in costume too 😂 Our karaoke nights were definitely some of the funniest memories we have from Tokyo!
Recommendations: We loved the popular Karaoke Kan chains that can be found ALL over the city. It was hard to go 2 blocks without seeing their iconic red and blue storefront. Visit the Shibuya location if you want to see the where the Lost in Translation karaoke scene was filmed!
5. Buy Something From A Vending Machine
This doesn’t really count as an activity, but it’s still a must when in Tokyo. Can you name any other country that has vending machines located on almost every street? Probably not, so take advantage of them while in Japan!
You never go thirsty or tired when there’s water and coffee at your disposal 24/7!! If you visit during the colder months, you can even get hot coffee or tea from the vending machines! Genius 🤓
6. Explore The Red Light District
Tokyo’s Red Light District is a shoe-in on this list of unique things to do in Tokyo! This place is home to the city’s flashiest lights, craziest casinos, and unique activities like virtual reality theme parks and 4D movie theaters.
Don’t let the funny “Boy Clubs” and “Lady Clubs” or topless bars turn you off from this area! They aren’t trying to sell to you like in Thailand and the establishments are much more classy and discrete. Not that I’ve been myself or are promoting them 😆, just noting that even with these places around, it still doesn’t have the vibe of a typical sketchy red light district.
7. Eat Yakitori in “Piss Alley”
Be adventurous and try all sorts of cheap (and unusual) skewers in Piss Alley! Like Golden Gai, this is another spot that’s popular among locals. Although while Golden Gai is quite expensive, Piss Alley’s actually a very affordable place to eat and drink.
Prepare to squeeze in most places as the restaurants tend to be narrow. Also prepare to pay a small cover fee most times to get in.
If you’re up for it, try things like intestines, kidneys, hearts and other organs! My boyfriend even tried chicken vaginas our first time in Piss Alley (yes the menu called it that) 😂🙈
Recommendations: Go anywhere you can fit! We always just went to random places that had available seats.
8. Witness Shibuya Crossing
You can’t go to Tokyo without witnessing the famous “Shibuya Pedestrian Scramble”! It’s the busiest crosswalk in the world and feels like organized chaos when crossing.
When you make it to the other side, watch the scramble from above on Starbucks’ second floor sitting area.
9. Play Games At An Arcade
Another thing Tokyo’s known for is its plethora of arcades around the city. There’s even a special district known for its overwhelming amount of arcades, A.K.A the Akihabara District. If you don’t make it to this area though, you can still find arcades all over the city!
Most places will have a variety of claw machines, video games, and photo booths to choose from. Some even have bowling alleys, billiards, and darts!
10. Eat Conveyor Belt Sushi
This activity may be my favorite of all the unique things to do in Tokyo! There’s nothing more fun/satisfying than having your meal float around on a conveyor belt right before your eyes. You’ll have to practice your self control since the meal doesn’t stop until you’re done grabbing!
What’s great about most of these places is that the sushi is incredibly cheap, yet still delicious. For example, you can sometimes get toro or fatty tuna belly for as low as $3!
For an extra unique dinner, choose a restaurant like Genki or Katumidori. Here you order on iPads and the chef sends your sushi to your table on a motorized track! If you haven’t already, watch my YouTube to witness the fun 😆
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Do you have anything to add to the list? Let me know in the comments!